Warning on fake booze

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Police and Trading Standards officers are warning Spalding shopkeepers to learn a lesson about selling fake booze and cigarettes.

The move follows a court appearance by a man who sold non-duty paid, fake and chemically contaminated vodka from Winsover Road takeaway Zorba-3.

Londoner Salman Pelit lost his personal licence to sell alcohol – even though it was his first offence – and was handed a court bill of more than £2,000 when he appeared at Spalding Magistrates’ Court.

Some bottles were contaminated with T-butanol, a chemical used in paint-stripper and solvents, and magistrates said they had no alternative to revoking Pelit’s personal licence as the bottles had potential to cause great harm to the public.

Police, Trading Standards chiefs and Customs officials are keeping a watchful eye on Spalding shops and will target any that are following in Pelit’s footsteps.

County council Safer Communities Trading Standards manager Ian Newell said: “This result should send out a clear message to other licensed premises to deter them from similar activities.

“Lincolnshire Safer Communities Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police take illegal alcohol and tobacco incredibly seriously and are committed to working together to tackle this issue and will take appropriate enforcement action against those involved.

“The public can be reassured that we are continuing to monitor the situation in Spalding and countywide to ensure their safety, but by being aware of the issues – and being cautious when shopping – people can avoid buying potentially harmful, illegal products, and reduce the demand.

Lincolnshire Police licensing inspector Rod Rose also hoped Pelit’s sentence would serve as a deterrent to other traders.

He said: “These decisions send out a clear signal that operating in this way will not be tolerated in Spalding or indeed across Lincolnshire.”